Questions and Answers – Part 3

Two young men in Texas – Patrick Tow and Rayford Outland – decided to do a History Fair high school project about ninjutsu training and my work. After gathering information from my books, DVDs, and the internet, their teacher asked for more detail and urged them to write to me personally with some more questions.

If you might be interested in some minor points about my life and how I ended up where I did, previous questions 5-8 and the answers follow the previously answered 1-4.

9. Why is it that ninja are often completely ignored in today’s history books (like textbooks, for instance), yet the books go on and on about the samurai for pages? Weren’t both ninja and samurai just about as interesting and important as each other?

The ninja were important in the 1500s and early 1600s, but once the Tokugawa family shoguns ruled a unified Japan, the ninja faded into the background of history. There was no possibility for a resistance movement, and perhaps no need for one. Japanese people forgot about the impact of the ninja families in the peaceful times of the 1700s and 1800s.

After that, many complicated things happened in the political scene of Japan in the late 1800s and early 1900s, after America forced Japan to leave isolation and enter the world of commerce and colonialism. When those of the early 1900s Japanese military industrial complex needed to build up the Japanese people’s sense of nationalism, in order to get them to support the imperial Japanese government’s plans for expansion into greater Asia, the ideal of the samurai selflessly serving the emperor was used to inspire the army. The ninja ideal, on the other hand, was too family and community oriented, making the building of a nationalized army and navy a difficult thing, and so the ninja ideal had to be reviled and portrayed as a negative or selfish thing.

10. How did you meet your wife Rumiko?

To support myself financially during the 1970s years I lived in Japan to study ninjutsu, I did advertising and movie and TV work. That kind of work allowed me to be paid well while still having the time to follow Hatsumi Sensei around all the time.

Rumiko had just graduated from Jochi Daigaku (Sophia University) in Tokyo, originally coming from Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, and was working for one of the companies I did film, voice-over, and creative writing contract work for. She began to help me with translations that assisted me to read Masaaki Hatsumi’s books, and soon joined me in her own training in ninjutsu with Hatsumi Sensei herself.

11. What was the Shadows of Iga Organization all about?

The Shadows of Iga Ninja Society was the means I used in the 1970s and 1980s – long before videos, DVDs, and the internet – to promote the martial arts as I had studied them from Togakure Ryu Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi. We used to publish a newsletter-magazine and schedule of seminars and workshops around the world.

The Society is pretty much dormant these days, now that we have schools and DVDs that teach the methods I studied. I also feel it is more important in our current times of unsure social, political, financial, and internationally uneasy states to emphasize studying the much more practical To-Shin Do approach to making the teachings of classical ninjutsu work for students around the world. Nonetheless, many of my top students also study with me in earnest the classical ways of Japan’s shinobi warriors under the inspiration of what began in America as the Shadows of Iga Ninja Society in the mid-1970s.

9 comments to “Questions and Answers – Part 3”

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  1. Dear Mr. Hayes,

    For what it’s worth, I think the student teacher
    relationship is a private one. And that you
    should not dignify this prying with an answer.
    Unless of course this was just to see how
    many superficial individuals would go away.
    It would make more time available for working
    with the serious students!

    Mark H.

    ps You might remember me as the spoon fighting
    uke at spirit of the warrior in Sugarloaf Maine.

  2. Chris Scarbrough says: -#1

    Mr. Hayes,

    I believe that answering this last question will clarify this issue for everyone.
    Many people in Japan and Shihan in the west have been told what happened from the Japanese Shihan. There have probably been all degrees of speculation and interpretation of the actual events, and it is important that these interpretations be corrected by revealing the actual events that transpired.
    I understand that the Teacher/Student relationship is a private one, but since we are modernizing things, we might as well be open about these types of things, since being forthcoming and bold is typically part of our “Western” culture/mentality.

    I look forward to reading your response to this issue. Take care.

    -Gambatte Kudasai,
    Chris Scarbrough

  3. Chris Scarbrough says: -#1

    Almost forgot…..

    Congratulations on your 20 year anniversary of Kasumi-An.

    -Ninpo Ikkan !,
    Chris Scarbrough

  4. Respectfully, I disagree, Mark H.: An-Shu Hayes is a martial arts celebrity, and unfortunately famous folks often run into slander and rumors. I think that we have an unusual privileged opportunity to hear the real story from the ninja’s mouth, as it were, and that’s a good thing, as Chris S. says above. 🙂

  5. Dear Mr. Hayes,

    I, too, feel that this is a private matter and no longer needs to be addressed by yourself. We are all curious but how will any revelation of what occurred benefit us? For a long period of time, I “lurked” in these so-called forums and read much of what people thought was going on in the world of Toshindo. I think many people around the world miss the point. They concentrate too much on differences of style rather than on the unique contributions that each style makes to the overall world of martial arts and to humankind. You and I (being close in age) come from a period of time when martial arts were not very prevalent in the U.S. You then chose to travel halfway across the world to meet a stranger that you read about somewhere. Again not a common thing for one to do at that period of time. Then, after spending a period of time living and learning in the country of that art, you return home and write about your experiences and attempt to sow the seeds of knowledge. Again, ninjutsu was not a household name nor many martial arts for that matter. My point is that because of you and your persistence in seeking more knowledge, the world of martial arts in the U.S. is far richer for it. In my mind, you are a major contributor to the world in terms of ancient philosophies as well as martial techniques. No one can ever take that away…it doesn’t hang on a rank board, but rather is carved in the annals of martial history.

    Regards,
    Rick Pola

  6. It is always important to recognise the parameters by which one’s understanding is derived.

  7. To whom it may concern,
    I’m sure Mr. Hayes made his own decision
    prior to responding to the first question. LOL
    I was just expressing my opinion.

    Mark H.

  8. I believe its up to the individual(s) involved in a certain issue to clarify or not to clarify. If they choose to clarify to what degree is again up to them regardless of culture. Privacy is still privacy. In all things RESPECT.
    Well thats my two cents on this matter. Thanks for your time.

  9. Beavis Christ says: -#1

    I think people need to consider the possibility of duality. There is NO question SKH COULD teach budo taijutsu / ninjutsu — as defined by most. Whether or not a license/credential to teach expires like something from the DMV, I don’t know.

    He has made a choice NOT to teach it as defined by others; the internet “pwner”, the Bujinkan bureaucrat, the MMA fan in his recliner, etc. But that “as defined by others” is key. This concept is analogous to asking if modern Southern Baptist Christian ministers are really teaching Christianity when they aren’t using the same rituals, dogmas, creeds, etc. as earlier sects…say the 480 A.D. Coptic Church. When you buy into others’ definitions of reality, you have already lost a lot.

    Have they “excommunicated” SKH? Pointless. He doesn’t teach from that school anymore. Could he go back to that world? Sure. But would he…SHOULD he? Probably not.

    We live in an age of officiousness; THIS is official…THAT is official etc. People seeking to tear SKH down are seeking some type of “official” notification to use as ammunition against him and to support their case. Perhaps they have been watching too many lawyer shows on TV. This is called a “argumentum ad verecundium”; the logical fallacy of appealing to authority. Their ultimate goal is to proclaim “SKH is not a ninja. You can’t learn ninpo from him. You want to learn? Here’s where you go.”

    He IS teaching ninpo. The principles are universal. The core — the heart — is infinite.

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